LEARNER drivers in Huddersfield are being ripped off – by bogus instructors.
Tricksters are posing as genuine driving instructors to offer cut-price lessons.
But now they face a crackdown from police and the Driving Standards Agency, worried by the fraud.
It is an offence to take money for offering lessons when not qualified.
Genuine instructors have to go through a series of complex tests and submissions to qualify for their licences.
The DSA warned: “These people are committing fraud.”
DODGY driving instructors are teaching on Huddersfield’s streets, it was claimed today.
Now the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) has launched a crackdown – and warned learner drivers of the risks.
The DSA says it is investigating unqualified, uninsured instructors who illegally take cash from learners for lessons.
Genuine instructors say the fakes are rumbled when learners turn up for driving tests at the Huddersfield Centre in Waverley Road.
They cannot provide their driving instructor permits for the centre staff, although learners can still take their practical tests.
The agency has pencilled a crackdown operation along with police in the coming months.
While it isn’t illegal to teach for free, teaching for money is against the law unless the instructor has passed three DSA exams.
On passing the third test within two years, the candidate will become an approved driving instructor (ADI).
ADIs are all issued with a green badge which proves they are qualified to teach.
A trainee instructor may teach for six months on a temporary pink badge after passing the first two exams.
But the tutor will be expected to pass achieve his green badge at the end of this period.
Unqualified instructors are not insured to teach and can face anything from a fine to a jail sentence.
Their vehicle may be seized and crushed.
The DSA Fraud and Integrity Team investigates suspects and enforces the law.
Deputy head Michelle Moston says: “We’re investigating a number of people in Huddersfield after intelligence we’ve received.
“There seems to be a significant number of inquiries in West Yorkshire and we have worked with police on several occasions in the past to identify and prosecute offenders.
“We’re currently setting up another enforcement operation with West Yorkshire Police.
“Drivers who teach for money without qualifications are not only committing a road traffic offence they’re committing fraud.
“People might think they’re getting lessons on the cheap but they may need to take three or four tests because of the standard of teaching so that’s costing them more in the long term.”
“We rely on intelligence to catch these people. If anyone is aware of any illegal activities they should call us on: 02920 581155.”
Qualified Huddersfield instructor Peter Tiernan, aka Pass With Pete, says at least four unqualified teachers have been taking pupils out on Huddersfield’s roads.
Now Pete is encouraging learners to make sure they are getting the real deal.
Pete, 49, from Marsh, said: “When you go for a lesson ask for their ADI number and have a look for a green badge. That will tell you the instructor is trained and can take money.
“If you believe they are not qualified says thanks but no thanks.”